Spices That Boost Your Immune System November 30, 2017 14:55

Research has given us four reasons to keep your spice rack stocked with these staples.

It's time to replace your medicine cabinet with your spice rack, according to 16 research papers published in Nutrition Today summarizing a Science Summit held by the McCormick Science institute and the American Society for Nutrition in Washington, DC. They named four major areas where herbs and spices can impact your health:

1: Spicing Up "Bland" Health Food So You Keep Eating Healthy
Health food has a reputation for being rather boring since it's not loaded up with fat and sugar (two things that taste really good). However, research from the University of Colorado found that adding spices to healthy dishes could make them just as appealing as full-fat versions. This means that "diet" food can be incorporated into a long-term plan for healthy eating.

spice rack

2: Flavoring Food So You Can Reduce Salt
We turn to salt when our food doesn't have enough taste. Unfortunately, for people with high blood pressure on a low-sodium diet the menu can start looking pretty tasteless. Fortunately, research from Johns Hopkins found that simply adding spices led people to eat 966 milligrams of sodium per day less than those who didn't.

3: Helping You Feel Fuller, Longer
Not only does food seasoned with herbs and spices taste better, it also makes you feel fuller and boosts metabolism. Researchers from Maastricht University in the Netherlands found that adding red pepper helped increase satiety, and if you're full, you're less likely to reach for an unhealthy snack later in the day.

spice rack

4: Reducing Heart Disease Risk Factors
While the healthy-eating strategies above can help you lose weight (which is protective against heart disease), the spices themselves may also have heart-healthy benefits. A review of research from The Pennsylvania State University found that adding spices to even a high-fat meal resulted in lower post-meal insulin and triglyceride levels.

Cayenne Pepper

Haas and Barrett explain that cayenne gets its kick from the compound capsaicin. Not only does capsaicin turn up the heat, but it also can inhibit pain due to inflammation. Plus, this spice is a great source of antioxidants.

cayenne pepper

Cinnamon

Sure, cinnamon flavors every fall treat, but it can also help you fight off those fall colds as an immune stimulate. Plus, it prevents blood platelet clumping, inhibits inflammatory substances, and can regulate blood sugar. 

cinnamon

Ginger

While ginger is most famous for its ability to quell nausea, Haas and Barrett explain ginger also decreases inflammation, fights bacteria and fungi, and improves circulation.

ginger

Thyme

With similar compounds as oregano, thyme is also a great way to fight off illnesses and, as an antioxidant, it protects your DNA from oxidation damage. 

thyme